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Q&A for International Women's Day 2018 with Heather Self, Blick Rothenberg

Amy Thomas International Women's Day, Tax in Professional Services, Career Advice...

Brewer Morris is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2018. We have interviewed a selection of our female clients asking them how they are pressing forward for women's gender parity #pressforprogress

Brewer Morris interviewed Heather Self, Partner, Blick Rothenberg

Past Progress

If you could tell your younger self one thing what would it be and why?
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to do your best and stop worrying about trying to be perfect. It took me a long time to recognise that I couldn’t do more than my best, and that being perfect was impossible.

What action or decision are you most proud of making in your lifetime?
I’m very proud of two things I’ve helped get off the ground – one, of course, is Women in Tax, which is proving to be a supportive network for people working in all areas of tax, and we’re having fun too! The other is having helped shape the CIOT’s Advanced Diploma in International Tax, which now has students and graduates in over 100 countries around the world.

Present Progress

Of the people that inspire you, what character traits do they have which you admire?
People inspire me if they are passionate about what they do; honest and decent in their approach to life and work, and generous with their time and talents to encourage others.

If I were to ask people in your workplace for three adjectives that best describe you, what would they say?
I’m not sure what three adjectives people would use to describe me – I hope they would say I’m enthusiastic, bright and approachable. But I’ve occasionally been described as fearsome – I hope they wouldn’t say that!

How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
I motivate myself, and stay motivated, by continuing to have a passion for tax, and particularly for trying to understand complex legislation and explain it in ways which make sense to clients. If I ever lose that passion, I’ll retire and do something completely different!

If you were to be a mentor to someone within your profession, what one piece of advice would you give?
If I were to be a mentor, I’d advise someone to work out what it is they really love about their career, and how they can make sure they find a role which enables them to do what they love.

What is your personal mantra?
My personal mantra is: Women can do anything – but they don’t have to do everything!

Future progress

How is gender parity being achieved in your profession and what do you think needs to be done to press for progress?
I’d like to see firms being more flexible about career progression – at the moment, it seems to be an escalator, and once you step off it it’s very hard to get back on. Why can’t people – women and men – go at different speeds at different stages of life?

At the recent Golden Globes, Oprah delivered a moving speech which led to people talking about her running for president. If you had the choice to recommend a leader, who would it be and why?
And finally – if I could recommend a leader in my field, it would be Sacha Romanovitch, UK CEO of Grant Thornton. She’s the first female CEO of a major accountancy firm; she’s driving real change – and she’s a really nice person who was an inspiring speaker at our first Women in Tax dinner.